Will we stop clapping and join the fight?

[This is the 6th post in a series that I am writing in the run up to the Goa Thinkfest organized by Tehelka]

To most of you coming to Thinkfest, 'Himanshu Kumar would not be name you would have heard for the first time. Only now did I notice that he too is going to speak at Thinfest and I guess the event just gets better every passing day without having even started. Tehelka has covered his work and travails extensively his life story is indeed an inspiration.

A lot of us are in awe of what he has been able to achieve in the field of tribal rights in the face of a dispensation which is bent upon crushing all those who dare to raise a voice for the oppressed. Himanshu ji is once such voice. I know he will surely dwell upon tribal rights and a difficult (for want of a better word) government. I would wish he includes one more topic when he speaks. Our role in this fight.

The very basis of "Think" in Thinkfest is to celebrate the human capacity to use his discretion and decide for himself what is wrong or right. If you ever wanted to know what you will find in a menu called "Food for Thought" then the Thinkfest speaker list is what you need to look at. Having consumed so much food for thought - what next? 

With these thoughts in mind, I would like you read this very interesting piece that Himanshu ji wrote - My experiments with Facebook activism. For some it would be an eye-opener and for some a reminder that "+1s, Likes and Twitter not maketh a cause". And this is something I would like Himanshu ji to talk about. 

What is his vision for the urban youth of our country, many of whom have this desire to do something for the country sitting in their cubicles. Is such a desire only an outcome of people climbing the pyramid of needs at a much younger age? Are we the youth of India kidding ourselves, more importantly 
hurting the cause, by our half-baked ideas of what plagues the nation? I was a supporter of the anti-corruption movement that had gathered tremendous momentum some time back. While it was heartening to see the youth supporting the movement in large numbers, a closer look woke up the skeptic in me yet again.

Many of them did not know what was the Jan Lokpal all about. I tried explaining it to people who did not know. I also avoided the "I am Anna" slogan because I felt it took such through the same lane of individual worship that we were criticizing in the Gandhi and other political dynasties. Wanting to remove corruption from the country is a good cause. But a bleeding heart alone cannot fix the society we are living in. We need the youth to understand the politics of their country. And when required put that knowledge to use. Sharing videos and anti-corruption messages is good but activism can definitely not stop at that.

We, the youth can not expect to cocoon ourselves in AC cars and gated communities. We need to have the hunger for awareness - of what is happening around us outside the glass windows. And I want Himanshu ji to show us the mirror.


  1. "We, the youth can not expect to cocoon ourselves in AC cars and gated communities. We need to have the hunger for awareness - of what is happening around us outside the glass windows."

    Nail in the head dude! Can't agree with you more!

  2. Yes Badhri, the demographic dividend that we are talking about is of no significance if we live like Jim Carey of The Truman Show - just that in this case we are deliberately trying to avoid seeing beyond the glass walls whereas in the movie, the character actually made an effort to know the truth.